WESTFIELD, Ind. — The thought of NBA All-Star forward Kevin Durant tearing his Achilles in his first game back a month after suffering a calf strain influenced Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich’s approach with quarterback Andrew Luck and his return from a calf injury.
“I was certainly thinking [about] it,” Reich said after the team’s first training camp practice Thursday. “I didn’t have that conversation with [general manager] Chris [Ballard] or any of our trainers. But that’s this business. When you see something like that happen, you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s why you do what we’re doing.’ It was kind of like unspoken truth. That’s why we’re being cautious.”
Luck missed the Colts’ OTAs and minicamp after injuring his calf during the spring. Reich said back in June that Luck would have been able to play in a game if they had one, which gave the indication that the quarterback’s injury wasn’t too serious. Ballard said Wednesday that Luck would be limited for the first 7-10 days of camp because the team doesn’t want to rush him back.
“He didn’t do anything this spring but making sure we got — we don’t want him to get out there and have a setback,” Ballard said. “We’re so process orientated in taking the right — if we’ve learned anything, when I walked in the door through the first injury he had, let’s just make sure we’re taking the right steps. We’re getting ready to play the [Los Angeles] Chargers [in Week 1], that’s where our mindset is right now.”
Durant, with the Golden State Warriors at the time, suffered his calf injury in Game 5 of their second-round playoff matchup against the Houston Rockets. He returned for Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors where he tore his Achilles, which was just a month after the calf injury.
Luck participated in the first part of individual drills in practice Thursday before replacing his helmet with a baseball hat the rest of practice. Backup Jacoby Brissett worked with the first unit during team drills. The Colts — and Luck — learned about patience during his rehab from right shoulder surgery in 2017. Luck missed all 2017 and the team took an overly cautious approach with his recovery to ensure that its franchise quarterback would be as healthy as possible before returning.
“The plan for him [Friday] would be for him to do 7-on-7,” Reich said. “We might just keep [him doing] 7-on-7 for a few days. But some of it its feedback, trusting Andrew. He’s doing a bunch of other stuff as well. But the next step is 7-on-7 and we’ll do that for how many [days] it takes. We have plenty of time to get a lot of good reps.”